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Robotic hands are wired for success

Making a moving robotic hand would be a tough challenge for sixth-formers, but at Burgess Hill Girls it is all part of a term’s work for Year 5 girls aged nine and ten.

Working in pairs, the girls made hands of card, with straw fingers. Then they did the necessary coding and wired it to the sensor-equipped glove which they could then use to move the robotic hand.

Working in the school’s new Design Technology suite, the girls had to learn lots of new skills in order wire up their sensors and put the boards together. They were finally able to move the hand with the glove in the final session of the project, which has been running since the start of term.

Head Liz Laybourn said: ‘This would be a challenging project for any age group, so these Year 5 pupils did exceptionally well. They also spent time evaluating the project and discussing what its applications might be, including use by disabled people who have lost the use of a hand. Robotics is becoming an increasingly important part of technology, and it’s vital our girls acquire the necessary skills.’She continued: ‘It was fascinating to read this week that inspirational Jo Dunkley, UK-educated Professor of Physics and Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, believes that a single-sex learning environment can support girls in their scientific ambitions. She said: “At an all-girls school, all subjects get an equal footing, but in a co-ed environment girls receive messages — from boys and teachers — that this [science] is not a thing girls do.”’
Mrs Laybourn said: ‘Robotics projects like this remind us that science holds no fears for our girls.’